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The Joy in the Park Christmas event originally set for Friday evening in Centennial Park has been moved to Saturday at 6 p.m. due to the threat of inclement weather.

Work has been ongoing since Monday to prepare Centennial Park for the event which will take the place of the annual Christmas parade which was cancelled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The lights, the 25-foot Christmas tree, decorative grapevine balls and more holiday features will be lit at 6 p.m. on Saturday. 

At the 1026 Urban Greenspace on Roanoke Avenue the letters spelling joy will be lighted and can be used for family photos. Main Street will also have its Santa mailbox where children can drop off their letters and get a reply letter back. 

Roanoke Rapids Parks and Recreation Director John Simeon said this afternoon approximately 15 people have signed up for a Christmas ridealong from Kirkwood Adams to Centennial Park escorted by the police department Saturday.

There are still spots available for the ridealong. Those participating need to be at Kirkwood Adams and ready to go at 5 p.m., Simeon said.

Those wanting to participate in the ridealong should call the recreation department at 252-533-2847 Extension 3.

Food trucks will be available at Centennial Park.

“I am very proud of the parks and recreation staff who have worked hard this week,” Simeon said. “We started Monday and have worked into the evenings all week in preparation for the Joy in the Park event at Centennial Park. I believe the Roanoke Rapids community will appreciate the opportunity to bring their families out and enjoy the park through these trying times.”

In the gallery: Photos taken of the work done at Centennial Park on Monday and Tuesday as well contributed photos of the joy decoration at the Urban Greenspace

The Halifax County Convention and Visitors Bureau is transforming the gazebo at Centennial Park into an Instagram-social media station with a Christmas backdrop. 

HCVB President and CEO Lori Medlin encourages visitors who take photos at the gazebo to use the hashtags #visithalifax and #mainstreetroanokerapids. “It will be a nice way to take a family photo by using the background. The HCVB and and most importantly the city wanted to give a gift to the community this year to help spread joy safely in these challenging times. The lighting ceremony will be a fun moment.”

Main Street Development Director Christina Caudle said in October $20,000 had been raised over the last several months to put together the Joy in the Park Christmas. Those funds come from the Halifax Convention and Visitors Bureau, Edward Jones — Robert Caudle, Rivertown Consignments, Angel’s Closet, the Rewritten Story Foundation, Main Street Roanoke Rapids and Halifax Linen.

Saturday the traditional lights throughout the city will also be turned on. 

The Christmas tree at Centennial Park comes with LED lights and a 4-foot star. There will be a 6-foot tall standing ornament with other Christmas elements and lights while grapevine ornamental balls will hang on the set of oak trees at the park. There will be lights and lasers accompanied by Christmas music.